The new way to do Bimini

Flying into North Bimini, the Atlantic Ocean’s dark sapphire waters quickly turn translucent. On the northern edge of this Bahamian island, the coast is lined with beautiful sailboats and impressive yachts. A pastel pastiche of vacation cottages in robin’s egg blue, seafoam green and pale pink are lined up in neat rows. Nearby, a modern five-story hotel signifies the latest change to this sleepy island, just 50 miles due east of South Florida.

It’s written in the sand: Bimini, the once well-kept secret of anglers and adventurers, is continuing its transformation into a favored getaway catering to South Floridiansand anyone enchanted by sparkling clear waters, endless blue skies and an unhurried pace.  

 

Where To Stay

An aerial view of Hilton at Resorts World Bimini’s lazy river-style swimming pool.

Genting Group, a global Malaysian resort and casino group, purchased Bimini Bay Resort in 2013, rebranding it Resorts World Bimini. The 750-acre property consists of 480 vacation cottages ranging in size from studios to four-bedrooms. It’s also home to two marinas, making it the largest on the island, with a total of 230 slips accommodating vessels of up to 180-feet.

When Genting bought the property, they erected a modern casino and began operation of the Bimini Superfast ferry with the intention of creating a “cruise destination resort” for both day trippers and overnight stays.

They’ve since ceased operation of the ferry and changed tacks conceptually by opening the brand new 305-room Hilton at Resorts World Bimini (888-930-8688) in early June.

Guest rooms at the new Hilton at Resorts World Bimini.

Now, most guests will arrive by a quick 45-minute commercial flight from Fort Lauderdale International Airport. They’ll have the choice between a vacation cottage or a room at the sleek new hotel, which boasts a lazy river-style pool with swim-up bar, a posh spa with sweeping views of the turquoise ocean and a number of drinking and dining options.

As part of the Hilton’s grand opening celebrations, they’re hosting a concert with Robin Thicke on July 23 on the private Paradise Beach. Admission is included for all guests staying at the resort. 

 

Getting Around

Local color on the roads in Bimini.

The best way to get around this narrow, seven-mile long island is by golf cart. Otherwise, Resorts World Bimini offers a shuttle into town and bike rentals.

The King’s and Queen’s Highway are the two main roads that traverse North Bimini, punctuated by earth-toned houses, some abandoned or in disrepair, while others don fresh coats of paint and the occasional mural. The most noticeable thing of all, though, is the quiet. With a population of roughly 2,000, the island is calm and peaceful. Both visitors and locals seem to like it that way. 

 

What to See & Do

The exterior of the Dolphin House with artist Ashley Saunders who created it.

A few attractions to visit include the Bimini Museum, perfect for learning about the history of the islands, the Bimini Craft Centre, ideal for picking up hand-carved souvenirs, the Bimini War Memorial and Heroes Park, a small stretch of waterfront with plaques honoring veterans of the two World Wars, and the Dolphin House, a one-of-a-kind, two-story structure built by popular Bahamian artist Ashley Saunders, embedded with sea shells, liquor bottles, and ceramic mosaic tiles. Inside, you’ll find a museum dedicated to Bimini’s history, an art gallery, and a few guest rooms. 

A stretch of Radio Beach.

When the heat gets to you, take a dip in the cool, translucent waters of Alice Town Beach (known to locals as Radio Beach and Blister Bay). Walk far enough up this secluded stretch and you’ll encounter the remains of an old shipwreck, now rusted a brilliant copper-brown set against the pale, foamy sea.

Water sports excursions can be booked onsite at Resorts World Bimini through Bimini Undersea, ranging from snorkeling at shipwrecks to boat trips to the Healing Hole, a natural spring said to have therapeutic properties.

If you’re itching for some jet-ski or paddle board action, the lively Edward Reckly (a.k.a. Eddy When You’re Ready) of Bimini Under the Sun can set you up with any number of fun water activities at the resort.

 

Where To Eat & Drink

Freshly baked loaves of the crave-worthy Bimini bread.

Head to Captain Bob’s for a proper Biminite breakfast including coconut French toast and egg and cheese sandwiches served on Bimini bread, a light and sweet local treat made with coconut milk. Prior to leaving Bimini, you’ll want to stop in at one of the colorful, local bakeries like Nate’s or Charlie’s, where you can pick up a loaf or two of Bimini bread to take back home. 

When you’re feeling peckish later in the day, head to Stuart’s or Joe’s for fresh conch salad made with bell peppers, onions, lime juice, best enjoyed with a cold bottle of Kalik beer, which is brewed in the Bahamas.

Outside at CJ’s Deli.

At C.J.’s Deli, the owners will whip up conch fritters and a mean grilled cheese with pink sauce. On certain days, you’ll find a DJ tent and cocktail table, and nothing beats dancing on the sand with new friends and a strong Goombay Smash in hand. Any drink with the honey-like Nassau Royale liqueur is also good.

Cocktails in Bimini.

Sit dockside at Bimini Big Game Club and enjoy a combo of island and American fare, along with a Big Game Ale, their refreshing house brew. Edith’s Pizza is also on the waterfront boasting pizza made with sweet Bimini bread crust and topped with lobster or cracked conch. Stop by Big John’s before heading back to the hotel and catch live music. End your evening at the Hilton’s rooftop bar where you can sit poolside for cocktails and conversation under the stars. 

 

Logistics

Nightly rates at Hilton at Resorts World Bimini from $229. Daily, 45-minute nonstop commercial flights from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from $221 round-trip via Silver Airways and United. You can also charter a seaplane or fly commercially via Cape Air from $383 round-trip. A number of private yacht, jet and seaplane charters are also available.

 

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